Hari Budha Magar, a former soldier in the British Army’s Gurkha Regiment who recently became the first double above the knee amputee to summit Everest, believes that everyone should create a positive difference in life, no matter how small. On Friday 14th July, Hari made a difference to the lives of 40 cyclists as they prepared to set off on Royal British Legion Industries’ annual Ride with a Veteran cycle ride.
Before Hari sounded the claxon for the cyclists to begin their 150 mile journey from RBLI’s Village in Aylesford, Kent to Ypres in Belgium he gave a motivational speech drawing on his recent ascent of Everest. Hari spoke of how before he set out on the expedition, he first visualised reaching the top of Everest, then broke it down into manageable sections, and advised the cyclists to do the same.
Speaking after the event, Hari Budha Magar said, “I hope my words will help the cyclists with their pedal power if they start to feel low on energy. I believe that whatever life you’re living you can do anything, and that’s what I wanted to say in the talk, as we all have our own Everest to conquer. After injury, life changes and you have to learn to do things differently. The friends I served with in 1st Royal Gurkha Rifles who now work at RBLI’s Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company understand that, as everything changed for them in Afghanistan. They’ve rebuilt their lives after injury and they’re an inspiration to me and everyone who meets them. I was glad to speak to the cyclists today as it’s vital to support charities like RBLI as it provides important services for veterans in need.”
Tirthraj Thapa, a third generation Gurkha, who served with Hari in the Royal Gurkha Rifles and now works in RBLI’s Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company said, “This is my third year doing the cycle ride and it’s good to take on the challenge with a group of people who want to push themselves and enjoy the ride. I’m doing this for RBLI as it’s become a second family since I was wounded as RBLI gave me a fresh focus and a second chance at life. After I was injured in Afghanistan in 2010 during Op Herrick I didn’t know if I’d ever work again, walk, play golf, or cycle, now I do all four.”
RBLI’s ‘Ride with a Veteran’ is organised each year by Friends of RBLI Penny Dyson and Brendan Touhey MBE who served as a Major in the Royal Engineers. This year cyclists included veterans, serving Armed Forces Personnel and RBLI’s civilian supporters. The ride starts at RBLI’s Village in Aylesford and finishes at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres where the group place wreaths during the moving ceremony to honour those who fell on the bloody battlefields in the First World War. The cyclists who take part say how it’s an emotional weekend of good cycling with camaraderie, food and pit stops.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s Ride with a Veteran, Lisa Farmer, Chief Executive of Royal British Legion Industries said, “It was another proud moment for RBLI as we all joined together to give the cyclists a great send off from our Village. As the cyclists make their way to Ypres, they should be proud in the knowledge that the money they raise will enable us to continue our work with veterans here at the Village, and throughout the UK. It was an honour to welcome Hari Budha Magar and his speech lifted everyone’s spirits and gave the cyclists an extra momentum for their ride to Ypres. Everyone who listened to Hari’s speech drew inspiration from it.”
To find out more about RBLI or take part in one of the charity’s events go to https://rbli.co.uk/fundraising-upcoming-events/
Ride with a Veteran is sponsored by Manchett Facilities, Cobtree Charity Trust, Arden BMW, Pillory Barn, Balfe’s Bikes and Logic Project Management.